‘New Engineering Education’ in Chinese Higher Education: Prospects and challenges
Since becoming a formal signatory of the Washington Accord in 2016, China has outlined an initiative ‘New Engineering Education’ (NEE) to reform its engineering education at university level. This paper elaborates upon the NEE initiative by presenting analysis of its domestic and international context, the goals of the initiative, how the initiative draws upon international standards, major actions under the initiative, and the challenges remaining for NEE to achieve its goals. The paper argues that China views international practices and standards of engineering education in developed nations as highlands to imitate and surpass, and the NEE goals embody an ambitious systematic rather than partial reform of the sector. China has pushed forward the NEE reform with measures such as formulating National Standards for dozens of categories of engineering programs, commissioning 600+ research projects on NEE development, establishing new engineering programs and interdisciplinary courses, strengthening university-partnership, updating accreditation for engineering programs, and improving both external and internal quality assurance mechanism. The sector, however, still faces challenges in achieving systematic quality upgrade due to hindering factors like enlarged uneven resource allocation, downplayed teaching activities and the difficulties in reforming the curricula system. Expected changes are also discussed.
Received: 06 March 2018
Accepted: 07 November 2018
Published online: 29 November 2018
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